If you had told me last March – as I packed up “just a few things” to do my job from home – that I would be doing the same thing exactly one year later, I could not have imagined it.
I could have never believed it if you had told me that:
- My desk chair would be delivered to my home
- “Zoom” would become a verb
- I could actually get along without printing every single document that came my way (yes, I am from the school of thought that says I need to see it to remember to do something about it)
- We could virtually celebrate personal and organizational successes, losses and challenges
- We could respond to COVID-19, wildfires and a new electronic health record implementation with more than 700 of our employees working remotely…all at the very same time
And if you had told me that – literally – for the last 365 days, I would be wearing yoga pants every day to work, I could not have imagined it.
And yet, here we are. Here I am.
As I write this, I am overwhelmed with gratitude at how lucky I have been – and how lucky all of us at Valley Children’s have been – in the face of what feels like a pretty unlucky 2020. To have a job at all is a blessing. To have a job that actually supports 700 of us to work from home – desk chair and all – is remarkable. To know that we can still make important contributions and support our healthcare providers to do what they do while many of us are at a distance is critical. And to know that we can still make a child’s life better because of the work of our entire organization is a gift, and this is really why we all get up and go to work in the morning.
It’s just that now, some of us get to work by walking down the hall rather than driving down Valley Children’s Place.
Reflections on this last year, for me, have also highlighted the circumstances of so many others who could not work from home, who could not access the internet to help their kids with virtual learning and who were scared, afraid and lost in worry about what would come next. This experience has renewed my own personal commitment – and the commitment of Valley Children’s – to do more to erase health inequities and to lift up all kids where they live, learn and play.
A Southern California colleague told me, for her, “Technology is the new traffic.” She used to complain about being late to work because of traffic. Now it is because she cannot log on, unmute her microphone, get video to work…the list goes on. So while we all have our share of Zoom frustrations, I am struck on a daily basis by seeing the heart of my colleagues still fully engaged in the care for kids.
We have seen humanity at its best. We have heard people wonder about new ways to support a family in need and local businesses, uplift our kids who miss their friends and connect with loved ones who might be alone. In the most difficult times, there was kindness and compassion for each other.
All of that reminds me of what really matters. And if you had told me that would be a lesson from 2020, I wouldn’t have been able to really understand that then as I do now.
Yoga pants have been a gift in more ways than one.
by Lynne Ashbeck, Senior Vice President of Community Engagement and Population Wellness at Valley Children's Healthcare